The Rochester Academy of Science and its five Sections are active
in scientific and scholarly pursuits in Rochester and Western New York.
The activities of the RAS can be briefly summarized as follows:
We foster STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
education and engage in public outreach to benefit society:
- We hold events open to the public and publicized as widely as
we are able, such as the annual Fall Paper Session, the annual Spring
Lecture, the annual Mineral Show, monthly Section meetings, and
field trips scheduled by several of the Sections.
- All our Sections participate actively in the annual two-day Science
Exploration Days program in Rochester, for students in grades 7-12,
sponsored by the Central Western Section of the Science Teachers
Association of NYS.
- Some of our Sections sent representatives to Science Camp sessions
at Rochester Institute of Technology in the summer of 2009.
- The Mineral Section provides activities promoting learning about
minerals at the annual Mineral Show [a display and sales event for
the public, not the same as the Mineralogical Symposium].
- The Astronomy Section gives instruction to Boy and Girl Scouts
who want to earn an Astronomy Badge.
- The Astronomy Section offers Project Scope each year or two, in
which teachers are taught about astronomy.
- The Astronomy Section assists at the Strasenburgh Planetarium
almost monthly; it holds Star Parties monthly or more often at local
parks during clement weather, with members welcoming all comers
to look through the telescopes they have brought; members take telescopes
to public places such as parks and malls and invite all comers to
look at the sun or at the stars and planets (as appropriate); it
holds open houses at our observing site in Ionia, NY to allow our
neighbors to see what we do and educate them about astronomy and
related sciences. In turn, we assist with local festivals by opening
our site to hay rides and setting up telescopes for solar observing.
- Several of the Sections provide displays and answer questions
at open events at local parks and other venues (e.g., Winterfest)
put on by other organizations (e.g., Adirondack Mountain Club, and
the Monroe Co. Parks Department).
- In 2009, three Sections provided materials for a display at Rundel
Library in Rochester that filled several display cases with minerals,
fossils, and herbarium specimens, as well as informative placards.
We promote, encourage, and publicize scientific and scholarly
pursuits, and we provide a common meeting ground for discussion of
cutting edge research:
- Annually we solicit applications from undergraduates at local
colleges and universities, review them, and give monetary awards
of a few hundred dollars to the top four to six applicants.
- We have a Fall Paper Session each year at which all [students,
adult researchers, and any others who submit] are welcome to present
oral papers (10-15 min) or posters on their research findings.
- We sponsor an annual Mineralogical Symposium that attracts nationwide
and international attendance to hear the latest research in mineralogy.
- Our five Sections (Anthropology, Astronomy, Fossil, Mineral, and
Life Sciences) have meetings (monthly for most Sections, or less
frequently) at which cutting-edge research is sometimes presented.
- From time to time we elect Fellows of the Academy; some are named
for their service to the Academy, and some are named for their outstanding
We disseminate and archive centuries of knowledge:
- We keep an extensive file of historic academy material in the
University of Rochester Rush Rhees Library, in their archives and
- We maintain a herbarium with over 60,000 plant specimens [most
but not all from Western New York State] dating as far back as the
- We publish Proceedings at irregular intervals, containing articles
on scientific topics pertaining to Western New York, as well as
the abstracts of the papers and posters from the Fall Paper Sessions
since the last Proceedings; the Proceedings are disseminated to
organizations around the world.
- Our website provides selected articles of historical and general
interest from the Proceedings, as well as notices of current and
We provide advice to governmental agencies:
- Our Astronomy Section provides advice and guidance on dark-sky
matters, at the level of local and town government and boards.
Among our most prominent members have been or are the following:
Edward Bausch (as in Bausch & Lomb).
Chester Carlson; inventor of xerography and founder of Xerox.
Ralph Dakin; optical designer, maker of the Dakin Barlow
Herman LeRoy Fairchild; American educator and geologist.
He was an early proponent of the theory of meteorite impact causing
craters such as that of Meteor Crater, Arizona.
Henry A. Ward; founded Ward's Natural Science Establishment
February 9, 2010